Workers’ Compensation – Notice to the Employer (2016)
The New York State workers’ compensation law has strict requirements about when and how employers must be alerted to workplace injuries. Failure to follow the requirements can jeopardize compensation for injured workers. Our client slipped and fell on a wet floor while working as a medical technician. She reported the accident to her employer, as well as an injury to her left knee. Later on, she was also found to have injured her right knee, neck, back and shoulders.
The employer contested the claim for the additional injuries, arguing that all of the injuries had to be reported within 30 days. We argued that the worker only needs to report the accident within 30 days, and does not need to specifically identify each injury. The WCL Judge agreed with the employer, and we appealed. On appeal, the Workers’ Compensation Board agreed with us that the worker is not required to notify the employer about each injured body part within 30 days.
The employer appealed, and the Appellate Division, Third Department also agreed with our position. Although a worker is required to file a claim with the Board for all injuries within two years of the date of the accident, the employer is only entitled to notice of the accident within 3 days, not each specific injury.
This case put an end to an argument that was routinely used by the City of New York to dispute and deny benefits to injured workers.